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Oracle's Take On Red Hat Linux 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-of-a-flavor-than-a-distro dept.
darthcamaro writes "For nearly three years, Oracle has had its own version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, claiming the two versions are essentially the same thing. But are they really? As it turns out, there are a few things on which Oracle and Red Hat do not see eye-to-eye, including file systems and virtualization. The article quotes Wim Coekaerts, Oracle's director of Linux engineering, saying, 'A lot of people think Oracle is doing Enterprise Linux as just basically a rip off of Red Hat but that's not what this is about. ... This is about a support program, and wanting to offer quality Linux OS support to customers that need it. The Linux distribution part is there just to make sure people can get a freely available Linux operating system that is fully supported.'"
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Oracle's Take On Red Hat Linux

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  • Total Flamebait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:05PM (#27275693) Journal
    This is great. When the only thing differentiating Redhat from Oracle is service, Redhat will win because they are the ones actually creating the product. If there is any single company that I'd like to see pushed into the ground by open source, it is Oracle. Whereas Microsoft is kind of a bumbling giant that can't quite get things right but gets by on chair throwing, Oracle is downright evil. They will actively destroy another company if it makes them a cent.

    On the other hand, Oracle is much less likely to go under because they produce other things of value that the open source community will have difficulty replacing (because we don't do much business software).
    • ORACLE (Score:5, Funny)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:09PM (#27275721) Journal
      One Rich Asshole Called Larry Ellison...
    • Re:Total Flamebait (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aralin (107264) on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:02PM (#27276015)

      This has nothing to do with who makes the product. It is entirely a support issue. Lets say you have a problem with your Oracle solution on Solaris or RedHat Linux. Oracle will look at the problem and determine it is an OS problem and so you go to Sun or RedHat and they say this is after all not an OS problem, but a virtualization problem so you go to third provider, who will find out that finally fixes the problem two day and several millions in lost profit later.

      If you can have one provider who will offer support for the entire stack, OS, virtualization, database or middleware engine, you have a huge win on your hands. Premium contracts can have time limits which now don't cover just one layer, but the entire stack. The same company will resolve the problem no matter where it lies and they are responsible by the service contract to resolve the problem. Where the problem actually lies is an internal issue you don't need to care about.

      When you add to it that business talks are done with single company, which results in time savings and you usually save by bundling the service contracts into one package as well. this is almost a no brainer that customer actually demand this.

      Add to it that RedHat is not binary free product, that you actually have to pay for the binary distribution of enterprise version, and that Oracle will basically save you additional money by compiling RedHat linux from sources for you.

      Redhat has a huge edge for servers not using Oracle database or middleware, but for servers actually running Oracle products, it is no brainer to go with a full stack support contract.

      • Re:Total Flamebait (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:00PM (#27276339)

        It's also a very smart business move by Oracle. Pushing free operating systems running on commodity hardware allows Oracle to reduce the price of an Oracle based solution without reducing Oracle's revenue. That's business savvy.

      • by ebuck (585470)

        Misinformation extradorinaire!

        RedHat is binary free. You can download any current distribution of RedHat compiled. With some hunting around, you might even find the old ones. What you can't expect is for them to make available the binaries for the patches and bugfixes for that distribution.

        Without the binaries for the patches and bugfixes, it is still binary free. You just have to use the rpm build system and do a lot of rpmbuild --rebuild to get the binaries. Failure to do so on your part is not lack

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by reiisi (1211052)

          Well, you know, if I start wanting to do something else with the hardware, I can always install RedHat. (And probably migrate to postgresql.)

          The one thing that bugs me about Oracle's customization of RedHat is the question of whether they are giving back, both to RedHat and to the community. Maybe I don't look in the right places to know, but it sure isn't obvious that they do.

          Actually, I'll go a little further and put it this way: From a potential customer's point of view, if I'm going to dedicate a lot of

        • by afidel (530433)
          For what you pay per core for Oracle licensing you would have to be an absolute idiot to run anything other than Oracle and possibly a backup application (though we don't) on your Oracle server. Having a tuned version of Linux specific to Oracle is a great idea, the problem comes when you get into the reality of support. Perhaps we aren't a big enough fish to matter to Oracle but our experience has been some of the worst support I have seen from ANY organization. That is a large reason why I'll be strongly
      • Re:Total Flamebait (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MoreDruid (584251) <moredruid@nOsPAm.gmail.com> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @04:17AM (#27277465) Homepage Journal
        Yes you get support from 1 vendor, however I recently had to deal with that vendor. There was already a support case, all kinds of log files uploaded for them to analyse and after 1,5 week they hadn't found the issue yet. What was the problem? at 4:20 every night 1 of the servers in a cluster of 4 went down. The issue was that updatedb was configured to run on OCFS filesystems, and updatedb is triggered by cron.daily. They had about 5 different engineers looking at our case. No solution, until someone from my company decided to dig a little further into the updatedb config. It seems that you shouldn't run updatedb on OCFS filesystems (we have another customer who has been doing that for more than half a year with way more nodes concurrently connected, but hey). Note: this happened after issuing a Oracle CRS (cluster software) update, the config had been running fine for more than a year. And Oracle support just kept on looking to the Oracle part, ignoring the OS stack. From Oracle Applications support I was told to "just update glibc from 3.2 to 4.x because there's a bug that's fixed in 3.6". Right. Break compatibility with all your major tooling and applications so you can run an Oracle App because they've been too lazy to test in an "old" environment (RHEL 4 U4).

        In short: I'd rather deal with 2 or 3 independent vendors who know their shit (and know it well), than with 1 vendor who would - even when told differently - kept looking from the wrong POV.

        • I gotta say thats what I've always found with paid-for support, if you want the job done right, do it yourself.

          Just the other week I had a problem with a certain piece of software we had bought to pentest a pretty dated operating system, after about 3 weeks of uploading logs and changing configs and turning on debugging for the "tech support" at both the software vendor and the OS vendor, I decided to have an in-depth look at the problem.

          Guess what? Identified and solved the problem in about an hour.

          And as

        • by lawpoop (604919)

          at 4:20 every night 1 of the servers in a cluster of 4 went down.

          I think I found your problem. You might do a 'random' drug test of the server room.

        • by lawpoop (604919)

          In short: I'd rather deal with 2 or 3 independent vendors who know their shit (and know it well), than with 1 vendor who would - even when told differently - kept looking from the wrong POV.

          You really think you're gonna get hooked up with three 'knowledgeable' vendors who know their shit and are willing to go to bat for each other, or are you more likely to get the same level of crappy support from 3 or 4, with hot potato tossing added into the mix?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by BitZtream (692029)

          What a gods damn minute! You mean Oracle told you to upgrade to a version of the software without the bug in it?! Those fucking bastards. The should have fixed it completely without changing anything, even a configuration file!

          Seriously if this bothers you, you need to not deal with F/OSS software. Backwards compatibility is no where on the feature list, its almost 'broken by design' as those developing the code have no need or reason personally to maintain backwards compatibility. You have the source,

      • If you can have one provider who will offer support for the entire stack, OS, virtualization, database or middleware engine, you have a huge win on your hands.

        Microsoft certainly likes the way you think.

        I recently built an Oracle-based system on AMD 64-bit HP Proliant server hardware, using Oracle's Enterprise Linux and the 11g database and it's been running strong and fast for three months without a single reboot yet, and is hosting an entire accounting/purchasing/finance/payroll system for a city govt in

    • Re:Total Flamebait (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wireloose (759042) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:33PM (#27276517)
      In my job, I am supporting both versions, RedHat and "Oracle." I get better support from RedHat. It's enough better that I have gotten away with converting several of the "Oracle" servers over to RedHat. There are still a few, but a few less every year.
    • by msormune (808119)

      You're right about the Oracle proving really something open source community can't do much. They're called "jobs".

  • by doktorjayd (469473) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:08PM (#27275711) Homepage Journal

    i've never bothered to look at oracle linux, because i can get 'free' redhat through centos, and when i want paid support, i can get it directly through redhat.

    without some other differentiation, what is oracle providing that isnt there from the others?

    so yes, it is just a rip off of red hat.

    • by NaCh0 (6124) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:15PM (#27275751)

      Oracle Cluster File System. Whether you need it or not is up to you. Oracle also provides OCFS modules for Red Hat to make it easy on people.

      • Clustered filesystems are, as a breed, ridiculously over complicated. perhaps king of the hill is OCFS. To get it working right, your entire cluster has to to perform a series of steps IN SYNCH. EG: your entire cluster must all be done with step 1 before they all do step 2, etc. Just too complex, and no way to be redundant without blowing loads of cash on highly complex hardware....

        Sorry... NO!

        If you want simple, redundant storage, you really have to do it in the application layer. Doing it at the OS level

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Wakk013 (922235)
      There is a free version of Oracle available. Its not licensed in any way. However if you go over their max data limit, then you have to purchase a version of Oracle.
      Also, RedHat and CentOS are the same product. They are the same source code: RedHat compiled by RedHat, and CentOS compiled by open source community. This allows RedHat to get more exposure and most of the bugs found in CentOS can be patched back into RedHat.
      • But CentOS is in no way affiliated with Red Hat. All they share is the code. CentOS is fine if you want to go the free route but redhat is pretty cheap. We order Red Hat licenses by the dozen for our University. All Oracle servers here run on Sun because of legacy I guess.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by reiisi (1211052)

          Right. If you can't afford support you don't need and you can't afford the time Fedora takes, CentOS is great.

          Ordering red hat licenses is one way to make sure the OS is still there for you next year. If you're using it in business and making much profit (or just saving money) by using their data products, you should be recognizing that you need to give them (or canonical or one of the others) money because you need them to be there next year.

          Same with feeding bugs back by using Fedora. If you rely on the

    • by baileydau (1037622) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:07PM (#27276371)

      i've never bothered to look at oracle linux, because i can get 'free' redhat through centos, and when i want paid support, i can get it directly through redhat.

      without some other differentiation, what is oracle providing that isnt there from the others?

      so yes, it is just a rip off of red hat.

      You would ONLY use Oracle Linux to run your Oracle products on. You wouldn't use it for your file and print, or web server. They wouldn't want you to anyway.

      It's largely a marketing thing. If you run your Oracle products on Oracle Linux, Oracle will support the entire software stack. That can be important to a lot of enterprise customers, no turf wars about who's fault it isn't.

      As a bonus, the Oracle Linux support contract is (and should be) significantly cheaper than Red Hat (or Novell - the other supported Linux vendor). This is because they really only support those functions that are required to run the Oracle products. They aren't interested in supporting your file and print server etc. Whereas Red Hat and Novell have to support everything.

      Can you imagine what Oracle would say if you had an issue that was borderline Oracle / OS and you were running CentOS? Even though CentOS is a re-badged Red Hat, it isn't Red Hat, and it isn't on Oracle's supported OS list.

      The sensible thing to do would be to run Oracle Linux for your Oracle products and Red Hat (or CentOS if you didn't want support) for everything else. As they are all virtually the same, it's a lot easier for your administrators.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by doktorjayd (469473)

        The sensible thing to do would be to run Oracle Linux for your Oracle products and Red Hat (or CentOS if you didn't want support) for everything else. As they are all virtually the same, it's a lot easier for your administrators.

        IMHO, the really sensible thing to do is not run oracle products at all. even the bea purchase and rebadging of the weblogic/aqualogic app server doesnt change that.

        • by Splab (574204)

          So what enterprise class DB would you run instead?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by turing_m (1030530)

            So what enterprise class DB would you run instead?

            PostgreSQL, unless there is some feature PostgreSQL is missing that I would need for the given application in the foreseeable future.

            • by Splab (574204)

              PgSQL does not scale out, only up. Enterprise is out of the question here.

              • Enterprise is out of the question here.

                "Enterprise Class" is marketing gibberish designed to produce FUD. There are many, many databases used in a typical "Enterprise" that do not need to scale out and never will. In fact, I would bet more companies have need of this sort of database than the other. Every company has need of databases that cover internal control issues - accounting, inventory, payroll, industry specific stuff. These do not need replication. (Often they just need a better backend than MS Ac

          • define 'enterprise class'.

            without the markitecture diagrams and execuspeak please.

            the vast ( and i mean _vast_! ) majority of needs in an application database are covered just fine by free/open source tools, speed, reliability and redundancy inclusive.

            the remainder probably could benefit from reconsideration of architecture and data access design.

            the only reason you would nominate oracle is if your department needed to blow a remaining budget in order to get the same budget next year.

            that or oracle sales re

            • by Splab (574204)

              So what open source database supports those things?

              MySQL has speed and redundancy (but not subsecond fail over and it needs some tool to handle the failover for it), but MySQL lacks reliability.

              PgSQL has an ok speed, it is very reliable, but it lacks redundancy (yes there are people who have written all sorts of trigger based replication schemes for PgSQL, but they are unsafe, and like the MySQL option needs something else to handle the switch to primary).

              There might be some obscure OSS database that handle

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MoreDruid (584251)
        That's the point: they are definately NOT the same. Yes, its based on Red Hat, but there are so many differences on Unbreakable Linux (here we call it Broken Linux) that annoy the hell out of you. The cluster application Oracle sold to our customer is not cluster aware (how did they do that?), furthermore the cluster service needs to be restarted when a node goes down (WTF? what's the point in having a cluster if one of your nodes can't fail???) and there are more diffences and issues. I've worked with it o
  • Um, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:09PM (#27275723)
    Um, so basically it is a rip off of Red Hat just with Red Hat stripped out and Oracle's own filesystem added to the kernel, with a different VM. Thats it. Still maintains binary compatibility, etc. This is basically like someone trying to justify that Linux Mint is some grand new distribution when it is nothing more then Ubuntu with a few extra tweaks and drivers added.
    • Re:Um, (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:35PM (#27275885)

      Um, so basically it is a rip off of Red Hat just with Red Hat stripped out and Oracle's own filesystem added to the kernel

      No no no no no.

      The default filesystem shipped with RHEL and OUL is ext3. The clustered file-system shipped with RHEL is GFS, and with OUL it is OCFS2. OCFS2 is not compiled in-kernel within Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and must be mod-probed in as a separate - unsupported by Red Hat - module.

      > with a different VM.

      Again, wrong. RHEL 5 ships with Xen, and will support Xen until at least 2014. OUL also ships with Xen. Please remember, KVM has not shipped in *any* RHEL release (major or minor) yet. Only Red Hat internally knows the release agenda.

      > Thats it. Still maintains binary compatibility, > etc.

      Oracle's binary compatibility claims are a myth.

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        Please remember, KVM has not shipped in *any* RHEL release (major or minor) yet. Only Red Hat internally knows the release agenda.

        Apparently they will release their KVM based vitalization before the management tools run on anything other than Windows 2003. That's what they got from Qumranet and that's why I won't be using it.

        KVM is going to be slower than XEN unless you have a super-duper-mega-new CPU with Intel EPT or AMD RVI support.

        • Apparently they will release their KVM based vitalization before the management tools run on anything other than Windows 2003. That's what they got from Qumranet and that's why I won't be using it.

          [ citation needed ]

          Seriously, I don't even think KVM runs on Windows at all.

          KVM is going to be slower than XEN unless you have a super-duper-mega-new CPU with Intel EPT or AMD RVI support.

          You mean like any CPU either have released in oh... about the past 3 years?

          • by 1s44c (552956)

            [ citation needed ]

            Seriously, I don't even think KVM runs on Windows at all.

            I never said it did. The RHEV management console runs as a .net application on windows 2003. VMware ESXi and the commercial xen offering both also require windows consoles. It's like some sick joke the virtulization work is playing on us.

            KVM is going to be slower than XEN unless you have a super-duper-mega-new CPU with Intel EPT or AMD RVI support.

            You mean like any CPU either have released in oh... about the past 3 years?

            Ok, say EPT/RVI has been in every chip produced for the last 3 years. Do you seriously expect industry to change all its servers within 3 years? Or throw out servers that work perfectly well with Xen only to spend money buying something new that runs at the same speed. Resp

      • Xen is a big deal (Score:4, Interesting)

        by btarval (874919) on Friday March 20, 2009 @11:22PM (#27276709)
        "Again, wrong. RHEL 5 ships with Xen, and will support Xen until at least 2014. OUL also ships with Xen. Please remember, KVM has not shipped in *any* RHEL release (major or minor) yet. Only Red Hat internally knows the release agenda."

        I hate to correct an otherwise good post, but that is at best misleading, and at worst just plain wrong. Redhat has announced that they are only going to support existing Xen installations, while providing a way to migrate to KVM.

        Xen is dead with Redhat. At least for now.

        Personally, I think this is a major screwup by RH, as I know of sites which had been stongly RH but are now looking at dropping them. Sorry, KVM just isn't ready for serious primetime. What's worse, is that the majority of Virtualization research out there is centered around Xen, for the simple fact that it's been around longer.

        So Xen is the focus of the next generation of technology, and will remain that way for a while.

        And before the KVM fanatics jump up shouting the usual "but-it's-faster!" mantra, you should be aware that Type II hypervisor support (ala KVM) was announced a couple weeks ago at the Xen Summit (at Oracle's HQ, btw).

        So one can either choose a KVM type of hypervisor, or the original Xen hypervisor.

        Oh, and I heard that the guy who did it coded up in 12 days as a lark.

        But unfortunately one doesn't seem to have a choice with Redhat..

        I certainly hope CentOS picks up the Xen work from Fedora this year. Otherwise I'll have to look to Oracle for serious datacenter work. I'm not happy about that at all, as I've been a very strong fan of Redhat (and have given them lots of business.

        But this really underscores how good it is sticking with Open Source. At least I DO have choices.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by chelsel (1140907)
      Hey, this is open source... if Oracle is doing something permitted by the license agreement then what is the problem... if it's not "in the spirit" of open source then maybe it makes sense to update the license agreement.
      • The article though tried to make it sound like Oracle's OS was so much more improved then what Red Hat had because they changed the kernel and added a VM but nothing more.
      • by Spit (23158)

        Oracle is following the spirit of open-source: taking the source and doing something else with it. Someone could totally take the Oracle distro, patch in whatever mods they like and call it "FUCK ORACLE LINUX".

    • Re:Um, (Score:5, Funny)

      by Ant P. (974313) on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:10PM (#27276057) Homepage

      This is basically like someone trying to justify that Linux Mint is some grand new distribution when it is nothing more then Ubuntu with a few extra tweaks and drivers added.

      Which, in itself, is a lot like someone trying to imply that Ubuntu is a distribution when it's nothing more than a snapshot of Debian sid with a few extra tweaks and drivers added.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      If you mean like every other Linux distro in existence, then yes.

      Redhat is a rip off of those who came before. The nature of GPL and is why there are so many Linux distros.

      How this got modded insightful is beyond me. They are doing the exact same thing every other Linux distro does. Take someone elses as reference, repackage/modify it to suit them, release.

      They are ripping off Slackware, which ripped off SLS, which probably ripped off some other distro before it. Thats the way GPL'd software is SUPPOSED

  • by lacourem (966180) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:32PM (#27275869)
    Serious question. My employer has recently stated that they would prefer us to use Oracle Linux for future installations instead of Red Hat. Just looking for some insight from someone else who has taken the plunge.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by EarlW (530437)
      I've installed a few UL Oracle systems. I wanted to be 110% sure that they would run the Oracle database. They just changed 'Red Hat' to 'Oracle'. They run fine...
      • by j-cloth (862412)
        I tried to do the same thing but found, at least when OEL was first released, that the Oracle software stack (particularly Oracle Applications) was better supported on Red Hat than on Oracle's distro.

        Now, they've caught up and I have some of both types lying around. To be honest, it doesn't really matter to me which is which and I don't think I could actually tell you which distro a particular machine is running without checking /etc/redhat-release.
        • by Macka (9388)

          "lsb_release -a" is a better command, because it works on all major distributions, regardless of the type.

    • by mrphoton (1349555) on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:10PM (#27276061)
      I would not take the plunge. Just grep the kernel source, how many times does the word oracle come up compared to redhat? Redhat and the people they employ have been responsible for a tone of linux development - it is their core business. Oracle have comparatively done bugger all. Redhat employ _real_ kernel developers. Do oracle? So when your server crashes in the middle of the night, who do you think will be able to produce a kernel patch to fix the problem, the people who employ kernel developers and have done so for years. Or.... a company that three years ago decided to rip off somebody elses distro... I would not touch oracle with a barge pole. (disclaimer: but all that is only opinion)
      • Redhat employ _real_ kernel developers. Do oracle?

        I would just throw something out there, but, Oracle pretty much is its own operating system in its own right. And, as such, it actually has to do concurrency, availability, all that ACID stuff that frankly "_real_ kernel developers" do not even bother with.

        Yes, Oracle is a shitty company the U/I to this database is just terrible and always will be: but everyone knows that. We all have our Horracle stories. But, if you want to put a billion records into a d

        • by kestasjk (933987) * on Saturday March 21, 2009 @04:05AM (#27277443) Homepage

          But, if you want to put a billion records into a database, and sleep at night, there's only one game in town, and that's Oracle

          The largest database I maintain for a site I coded has 15 billion records atm and it's doing fine in MySQL, with a relatively busy daily peak time with well over 100 users, all on shared hosting.

          In fact the only problem I've had with database growth was when an auto incrementing ID went over ~2 billion in MySQL, which put it over PHP's 2^32-1 integer limit.
          And yup this all has to do locking and transactions, not just MyISAM with basic queries.

          My personal experience counts for nothing of course but Google, /., etc, etc all using free databases for big work too, so I think your attitude is a bit dated.

      • ] grep -ri red linux-2.6.28 | grep -i hat | wc -l
        3877
        ] grep -ri oracle linux-2.6.28 | wc -l
        191

    • by carlzum (832868)
      My company has been moving from Solaris to Oracle Linux recently. It's been largely unnoticed by the users and DBAs. The decision to go with Oracle Linux was a cost savings measure, but we also like the idea of Oracle supporting OS-related problems. Red Hat may provide better support than Oracle, but we've spent a lot of time eliminating potential OS issues working with Oracle support.

      So far, we haven't run into anything that required Oracle's help with the OS. IMO, Oracle Linux is a good option if it su
    • I had Red Hat on a 1u dual xeon manufactured by IBM. Minimal load, but the box would crash every 6-9 months. I never bothered to figure out why; just rebooted.

      While I was migrating to a dual socket, quad core (also by IBM), my subscription died. I learned that someone at corporate HQ had terminated my RHN up2date license (among many others). I admit that I did try to get Red Hat support turned back on, but I couldn't even get their sales staff to send me a quote by my deadline.

      Oracle, however, was quite tim

      • Wondering if Red Hat's sales department needs more people who understand how to sell "free" software.

        I mean, maybe there are two problems here:

        One, maybe they are too short-handed to meet demand.

        And, two, maybe they are short-handed because many people who understand the benefits of free software would rather be using it than selling it.

  • by DiegoBravo (324012) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:44PM (#27275921) Journal

    I support a software product in a telco, and had talks with its IT managers about the Oracle Linux issue. They have lots of Red Hats but see the Oracle offering interesting (and are implementing it) because:

    1) Linux (RedHat or others) are really stable systems (compared with other Unixes they had or have), so the support provider switch is not seen as a dramatic issue
    2) They can save some cents without (apparently) giving anything. The RedHat support is little money for that kind of company, but a saving always looks good for the directors
    3) They avoid one provider's negotiation as a whole (which is a big win: less paper, less meetings, less vendor talk, less decision process, etc.)
    4) They mostly ignore the distributed filesystem issues, and for virtualization just apply the leader (VmWare), so the Xen/KVM/Xen-Oracle discussion is not too relevant
    5) BTW, for some diverse reasons, their software providers seem to dislike CentOS (maybe the RedHat's negative marketing made its effect, who knows)

    • by seifried (12921)
      CentOS is really, really slow on security updates and updates in general.
      • Hmm. Maybe they should be charging more so that they can afford the manpower to move the updates and patches down-stream?

        Or maybe their users should be donating more?

    • If you don't need them, avoid them like a money grubbing plague. And pay someone who really provides value to the Linux (our) community.
  • ooh the controversy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mutantSushi (950662) on Friday March 20, 2009 @08:57PM (#27275981)
    I'm not THE most knowledgeable on the minutae of these, but all the bad blood about Red Hat/ Oracle seems silly: The whole point of "Free Software"/Linux is that any company does not "own" code or software (well, they still do, but give up any claim to interfere with others' use of it). Commercial Linux companies obviously need to make their money thru support services. So Oracle thinks they can compete against Red Hat in this area. Obviously, Red Hat as the signifigant maintainer/updater MAY have an advantage. All the end-users get to decide it themselves, and since the code-base is so close, it's relatively easy to switch back and forth. What is the problem when "Free Software" is working exactly how it's supposed to? So what if Oracle eats Red Hat's business for lunch without contributing back? Linux will still be improved by those who want to improve it. All that such a scenario would mean is that (if it occurs) the model of maintenance/support service subsidizing development may not work for all cases. If that's true, then so what?
    • by aralin (107264)

      Oracle is essentially a parazite on the Redhat Linux. It is not in Oracle self-interest to eat RedHat's lunch because if RedHat goes bust, Oracle won't be able to maintain it by itself. Oracle only wants to eat the minimum amount of RedHat's lunch needed for its own profits, which lie in selling their own products with full support of the entire vertical stack. So clearly Oracle will go for support contracts on servers that run Oracle Database or Middleware solutions, or maybe as part of an existing contra

    • by pembo13 (770295)

      The controversy is that Oracle is quite literally a leech. And is trying to take money away from a company that is heavily invested in the Linux community.

      Of course RedHat's failure wouldn't kill the community, but it sure wouldn't help it. And every penny RedHat looses is one less penny to hire a FOSS developer.

    • Oracle is the source of the controversy. They are the ones strutting around saying, look what we're getting for free!

      I suppose it is because many of their big customers expect them to play the predator. It's not the money saved. That's peanuts.

      It's the image. Oracle provides a buffer between the dog-eat-dog corporate world and the touchy-feely alternate corporate world.

  • by StormReaver (59959) on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:01PM (#27276009)

    Oracle can't even give quality support for its own software. Why on Earth would it think it can give quality support for someone else's software?

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:30PM (#27276167)

    Before everyone goes all stupid crazy about Oracle versus Red Hat Steel Cage Match, I'd just like to point out that Oracle has been around since 1977. Redhat: 1995. Redhat brought in $400 million in revenue in 2007. Oracle? $22.43 billion. I could go on, but I think you get the point. Oracle is a freight train, and Redhat is a skinny guy who jogs a couple times a week in the business world.

    If I go to senior management and say I'd like to use Redhat Linux, they'll go "What's that?" If I say I want to run Oracle Linux, they'll ask "How much will that save us?" There is no question of Oracle's reliability, or market performance. None. Oracle doesn't need to prove itself. So if you're a fan of getting Linux into the business, you should be saying "hip-hip hoooray" to this; You've got a free pass now at the executive board meetings to install Linux now somewhere. Or... or you can bitch about how it's the wrong flavor of linux and tear into Oracle for ruining the good name of Linux, how Orthodox Linux users are into shaming other users, and Oracle is more like New Evangelical Linux -- half the guilt, twice the usability, etc., etc.

    Your call.

    • I've not seen Oracle Linux in any client of my company's data centers, and they include some with huge budgets (I.T. budgets over a billion). For running Oracle most are Red Hat, some are OpenSuSE, and a little bit of some others. No Oracle Linux anywhere.

    • by pembo13 (770295)

      Yes, obviously because your senior management has heard of it, it must be what's good for the community, no actual evaluation and long term planning is necessary.

    • Oracle's Linux is tuned for Oracle's primary product. More than half of your servers do not run Oracle's database. Saying, "Let's run Oracle Linux!" for anything but Oracle's database servers could be bordering on incompetence.

      And if your management is still saying "What's that?" when someone suggests implementing servers on Red Hat's OS, maybe you need to communicate more positively with management about the state of the OS marketplace.

      Just saying.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sgtrock (191182)

      Funny, I work for a U.S. company with more than 50,000 employees. We've got IBM mainframes, AIX, a little Solaris, a little HP-UX, Windows 2003 servers, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. We've got some old databases on the mainframes that have been running the bread and butter apps of our business for more than 30 years, DB2, Oracle, MS-SQL, a little MySQL, a little postgresql. Our use of Oracle is limited to a single relatively large application that happens to be hosted on our HP-UX environment. Still, it

  • One stop shopping (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 20, 2009 @09:48PM (#27276265)

    If you run an Oracle shop with DB support, Oracle's Linux support is a deal that's hard to beat. It's comparatively cheap and coverage is 24/7 across all time zones until a problem is fixed no matter if it's database or OS related. Try that with other Linux support vendors. If it ends up being a DB issue, they'll point you to Oracle and tell you to have a nice day. Then you can start the trouble ticket process all over again and hope Oracle doesn't say it's an OS issue. Anyone up for finger pointing when your mission critical system is down?

    • by nwetters (93281)
      "coverage is 24/7 across all time zones" Good luck with Oracle 24/7 support in the Middle East. In Qatar, you'll have to wait several days for a guy to get on a plane. Oracle's Linux support offers nothing over Radhat's in this corner of the world.
  • by bol (152634) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:06PM (#27276367)

    The greatest challenge that Red Hat (and Oracle) now face is to determine what they're actually selling and make a clear case for the added value that they provide.

    I've run a few large Linux shops, recently including one requiring over 300 RHEL licenses and I can tell you that without a doubt that both Red Hat and Oracle sales people have zero idea what they are selling, what the differences may be and what added value they provide.

    Red Hat copyrighted materials are the Red Hat trademark, logo, etc and the key difference between all of the RHEL derivates is simply the absence of that name and logo. Each distribution can pick and chose what patches and changes they want to merge in but everything is open source. It's how CentOS, Oracle, etc can make a competing "product." It's a bundle of freely available code and not much more. Where products differentiate is their delivery mechanisms and support of said code.

    Things get complicated when you start asking Oracle and Red Hat what you're actually buying and what that support entails you to. I can tell you from first hand experience that I have never had a single issue get resolved via Red Hat's support organization - including clear bugs with tickets that still exist (primarily memory management code with kswapd.) Maybe they're only setup to help people get printers working with cups? And the same goes with Oracle Support.

    By Oracle's move of choosing what code to merge and adopt they are misleading customers by openly calling it and comparing it to RHEL - which is exactly how it's sold and pitched to customers.

    Oracle even offers a utility to run on your RHEL installation to re-brand it to Oracle Enterprise Linux. It replaces a bunch of packages and removes the Red Hat name, points it at the Oracle yum sources and calls it a day.

    If Oracle wants to create a world class Linux they need to provide the tools, support and honesty to make it a successful competitor rather than relying on their name (which does not hold much clout, despite what their marketing guru's may think.) Combine that with resolution of real problems and not just entry-level technical support and you'll have a winner.

    Come to think of it, that applies to Red hat as well.

    • by eln (21727) on Friday March 20, 2009 @10:52PM (#27276587) Homepage

      I think you're misreading what Oracle is trying to do. Oracle is not particularly interested in creating the best Linux distribution out there. Oracle is interested in creating the best *end to end Enterprise solution* out there. Most of their acquisitions over the past several years have been toward that goal. Oracle wants to be the single source for every part of the software stack in Enterprise computing.

      Right now, Oracle can offer a total end to end solution with one support contract for OS, DB, Middleware, and front end apps. No one else right now can do that, and that's a huge deal for the executives of the large companies that tend to run Oracle software. Oracle is not trying to compete with RedHat, Oracle is trying to compete with ERP providers like SAP. RedHat is just providing them with free OS development.

  • by mysidia (191772)

    Last I checked, it didn't come with a Yum setup, and you had to pay for support to get simple things like software updates and the ability to install software from their FTP servers, or from anything other their install media.

    $99 per year per system for an update-only contract, and without it, you can't upgrade to apply things like security patches (until they eventually release a new version of the whole system with new media, for you to update using install media). That's not free!

    With CentOS, Scie

  • by wzzrd (545802) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @05:18AM (#27277607)

    1. If you have a mixed server park (that is: host different applications too, other than Oracle's), migrating is *not* feasible. I'm not going to support yet another OS, just because it is *possibly* a tiny bit more convenient once it is set up. Because before it's set up, I'll need to have deployment mechanisms for another OS, management tools for another OS etc. Not worth it.
    2. To extend my first point: Oracle's support might be a bit cheaper for the OS, my time is a lot more expensive than a thousand bucks worth of support on a years basis. That matters when having to support more OS'es.
    3. Red Hat fixes the bugs, and then releases the src.rpm. Oracle has to Q&A that, port it, upload and release it. Updates for Oracle Linux will be (a lot) later than Red Hat's. See how much time it is costing CentOS to release 5u3. No offence, but for production systems, I want to have potential fixes *now* if the situation we're in is hurting us.
    4. I'm just about to get RHCA certified. Can I get that level of Linux certification from Oracle? Don't start saying the OS'es are compatible, because they are not, see point 5 and 6.
    5. The only thing Oracle can do on the long term, if fork RHEL. The amount of support, the changes they make and the fact they want to support until the end of time in the own way, might not be called a fork, but it will be just that in the end. So much for compatibility.
    6. They ported yast. Need I say more?
    7. Not really a business reason but check this out. Oracle announced Oracle Linux just a couple of months after RH scooped JBoss from underneath Larry's nose. One of the previous posts is right: Oracle is not trying to compete with RH. It's trying to get revenge. ;-)

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      3. Red Hat fixes the bugs, and then releases the src.rpm. Oracle has to Q&A that, port it, upload and release it. Updates for Oracle Linux will be (a lot) later than Red Hat's. See how much time it is costing CentOS to release 5u3. No offence, but for production systems, I want to have potential fixes *now* if the situation we're in is hurting us.

      You get the potential fix at the same time redhat does. Its GPL remember? they can't release it to anyone unless its everyone, so you indeed get the same patc

  • We use regular RHEL to run our Oracle database. When we were setting this up, several people pointed out that Oracle's Linux was doing some pretty horrible things to the kernel and overall system setup, so we stayed away from it.

    As far as support, lets face it: Oracle doesn't provide support. You can open tickets with them, and maybe get pointed to a patch to resolve a problem. If you are not a database shop you will be working with an independent vendor, who will setup the DB and do a lot of the administra

  • by Douglas Goodall (992917) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @09:56AM (#27278469) Homepage
    I was an early adopter of the unbreakable linux. I had serious support issues just trying to get my Dell SC1420 to use it's SATA drives in my desired configuration, and despite my service contract, was unable to get either support for that, or reliable updates from oracle and their bastardised version of up2date never worked for me. I had high hopes for their version, but they were all talk and no action when it came to keeping up with the upstream provider. When their system boots, it still identifies itself as Red Hat and they never even properly customized the system enough to cover up that fact. They (Oracle) just used the open source situation to grab Red Hat's product and try to run away with it. I dislike Oracle and will never use their products again.
  • talking to oracle (Score:3, Informative)

    by nimbius (983462) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @12:49PM (#27279705) Homepage
    last year regarding their OS led me to believe they have absolutely no technical expertise in linux. we did not have a technical expert present at the discussion, only 'senior support' personnel.

    the conversation was always steered toward response times and support metrics...extensive testing and development. nagging kernel memory use questions never got responded to. BTW, youre getting a linux with no SELinux, so essentially oracle is shipping a "preconfigured" hacked red hat to eliminate the confusion most developers have when they realize their windows oracle expertise stopped at "insert CD rom" in the linux realm.

    oracle in linux performs no better than oracle in windows...its load handling sucks and the uptime for it was often measured in hours. maybe a bad developer or two to blame, but Oracle linux did not help. dropping SELinux got us dinged on SOX compliance as well.

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